Pair/share opportunities allow Teaching Artists to work together to generate ideas for lesson plans, 2023, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA by Maria Ramos

LACMA’s Teaching Artist Training Series (TATS)

May 6, 2024
Maria Ramos, Manager, School and Education Community Programs
Lara Schilling, Content Specialist for Teacher Programs

LACMA Teaching Artists are creative field experts who guide, educate, and illuminate people’s capacity to derive personal meaning from art-making. They use their skills, experience, and knowledge to support learners of all ages in creative self-exploration, and help the art education field move toward a more culturally relevant future. At LACMA, the Education department’s core values highlight the following traits for Teaching Artists: creative, collaborative, dynamic, and inclusive.

Founded in 2022, the Teaching Artist Training Series (TATS) is a professional development program that provides mentorship to local artists by exposing them to a variety of teaching methodologies and learning tools. Specifically, the program is a creative professional development resource for artists of color who have fewer options for high-quality training. Rather than charging a fee for the program, which would be a barrier to access for many people, artists receive a stipend for participating. This policy aligns with our goal of providing promising artists opportunities to establish networks that support their careers and building a cohort of cultural leaders of color who are committed to the advancement of arts education. 

Artists work on a Social Emotional Learning exercise facilitated by Teaching Artist Katy Unger, 2023, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA by Maria Ramos

Last summer, TATS took place at LACMA over eight Saturday mornings. The program facilitators were LACMA educators and Teaching Artists who relied on their own pedagogical and artistic expertise to guide participants through dialogue, workshops, and experiential creative learning. A critical component of our work involves hiring facilitators from diverse backgrounds to share their knowledge and lived experiences, and to participate in a community of like-minded people who care about making an impact on the world. Our highly-skilled, committed facilitators were perceptive and responsive to the interests, curiosities, and needs of all participants. Due to generous support from grant funders, we were able to host 19 participants, almost doubling the previous year’s attendance. 

Throughout the program, we presented a curriculum that reflected efforts to engage diverse and underrepresented populations, and coursework designed to strengthen knowledge in areas such as classroom management, the California Arts Standards, and social emotional learning. Using a culturally relevant pedagogical approach, artists learned how to design, write, and present art-making lessons inspired by artworks in LACMA’s encyclopedic collection. 

Teaching Artist Carmina Gonzalez co-facilitates a session on classroom management, 2023, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA by Maria Ramos

Art education is constantly evolving and training opportunities such as TATS allow artists to keep up to date with new pedagogical practices and techniques. Although ample training opportunities exist for success in career pursuits involving art education practices, these are not and have not been equally accessible to everyone. Through transformative and inclusive facilitation, TATS aims to disrupt the access gap and provide artists with tools and resources they can directly apply to their teaching. 

“My expectations were to learn the tools needed to increase my skills as a teaching artist,” said one 2023 TATS participant. “The course exceeded all my expectations. I was introduced to so many updated learning strategies and tools that I can now add to my toolbox. This was my first introduction into how to apply standards to my art lessons and while it was a difficult process to initially comprehend. I am grateful that I now have a basis with which to more effectively teach. The courses were jam-packed with high-quality information as it pertains to the art world and beyond. All of the strategies we learned are essential for teaching any subject, but especially art.”

Teaching Artist Training Series program team, 2023, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA by Nathalie Sanchez

We would like to thank last year’s TATS cohort for their participation and knowledge—Bianca Argueta, Brandon Martinez, Christian Rosales, Corinne Dyson, Davidra Jackson, Elizabeth Herrera, Erica Claire, Francisco Cortes Gonzalez, Henry Oh, Hernely Bonilla, Jasmine Castro, Margarita Grajeda, Mariela Barcenas, Monica Mendoza, Paola Gil, Ramon Duran, Shaki Alliu, Sydney Clay, and Viridiana Meza—as well as the LACMA Facilitators—Maria Ramos, Carmina Cortes, Danny Gonzalez, Holly Gillette, Ilse Guardado, Katy Unger, Lara Schilling, and Nini Sanchez.

Do you know anyone who would be interested in participating in the 2024 Teaching Artist Training Series this summer? Encourage them to apply online by May 24 or email for more information.